[MEDIUM] Hargrave Coulees Natural Area


Previously named Prairie Coulees, this NA is on the South Saskatchewan River, just east of CFB Suffield in southeastern Alberta. Named for James Hargrave, a volunteer firefighter, who was killed in 2017 battling a grass fire.

AWA’s Middle Sand Hills Area of Concern Map; Alberta Wilderness Association.
AWA’s Middle Sand Hills Area of Concern Map; Alberta Wilderness Association.

Map of the Area

Any maps and map views are for general information only. Do not rely on them for navigation or to determine legal boundaries.

Other Information

This natural area includes several ravines and coulees adjoining the South Saskatchewan River. Noteworthy are a number of springs and associated plant communities (including many rare plants) that are under-represented in Alberta’s parks and protected areas network. Incised valleys drain into the South Saskatchewan River valley. The area contains classic badlands features with spectacular coulee and valley landscapes. It’s good habitat for many animals including golden eagle and other large birds of prey.

A Thin Slice of What Was. The NA falls within a larger region which the Alberta Wilderness Association calls the Middle Sand Hills Area of Concern. Within this larger region are near-native grasslands, sand hills, ancient glacial coulees and wetlands are reminiscent of the Great Plains as they once were. The area boasts an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, home to 1,100 native prairie species, including 13 federal Species at Risk and 78 provincially listed “at risk” species. A large portion of this Area of Concern is located within the Canadian Forces Base (C.F.B.) Suffield Military Reserve. The NA is outside of the reserve and across the South Saskatchewan River [1].

James Hargrave was whom this NA was renamed. Mr. Hargrave died at age 34 when he lost control of the water truck he was driving, as a volunteer fire fighter in 2017. SAPAA acknowledges this young father and the contributions he made to his community during his short life. A legacy fund has been set up and is linked in the further reading section [2, 3].

Site Statistics

Site NameHargrave Coulees
Site TypeNatural Area
SubtypeOrder-in-council (OC)
Natural Region(s)Dry Mixedgrass
O.C. No. (Land Ref. Manual)374/2020 and 49/97
PASite ID (Map Ref #)578
Site # (Parks Website)507
Total Area1813.41 ha. (4481.04 ac.)
Recreation Activitiesnone noted
Operated ByParks Division
Notes and CommentsRenamed in 2020 from Prairie Coulee
Statistics and Details for Hargrave Coulees Natural Area
Hargrave (formerly Prairie) Coulees NA Site Map (Government of Alberta)
Hargrave (formerly Prairie) Coulees NA Site Map (Government of Alberta)


The following links are provided as a courtesy but are not verified or endorsed by SAPAA. Clicking on the link will cause you to leave the SAPAA website. Primary source of information is: Information & Facilities – Hargrave Coulees Natural Area | Alberta Parks (All links accessed on 2023-02-22).

  1. Middle Sand Hills – Alberta Wilderness Association.
  2. ‘Our hearts are broken’: Family of Alberta firefighter killed battling wildfire | Globalnews.ca
  3. Email exchange – Forestry Parks, and Tourism. “Re: SAPAA Asks – Background on Name Change of Hargrave Coulees (FID 137)” Received by F.Potter, February 24, 2023.

Further Reading

Editing, Review and Silence Procedure

  1. FRANK: Publish page
  2. HUBERT/PATSY: Assign page for editing by update tbd in the Title (4-
  3. Review for readability and alignment to SAPAA organizational reputation.
  4. Best available image
  5. Review for accuracy including:
    1. Correct map and site statistics
    2. Area size is correct
    3. Standards (e.g. use of hyphens, spelling, etc.)
    4. References are accessible and and notes match
  6. Review for formatting, e.g.: Centered captions, No empty blocks
  7. TEAM: Last walk through
    1. Any final discussion or notes
    2. Remove [name] from title
    3. Add to log book for silence procedure
    4. Delete these notes.

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